The Detroit Tigers finished the first half of the major league season on a disappointing note, having lost the last three games of a 4-game set to the Minnesota Twins. Now, they find themselves at the .500 mark or worse heading into the All-Star break for the first time since 2008.
Over the past couple weeks, the Tigers have seen guys come up and make season debuts, like pitchers Drew VerHagen and Jeff Ferrell. Ferrell made his major league debut during the 4th of July weekend and appeared in two games for Detroit, while VerHagen returned from injuries, claiming the role as a reliever now and no longer as a starter.
What else is going down on the farm?
TRIPLE-A: TOLEDO MUD HENS
The Toledo Mud Hens have reached the All-Star break in the International League (AAA), sitting with a record of 40-51, last place in their division.
They will be sending three representatives to the Triple-A All-Star Game (Wednesday, July 15 @ 8:05 PM ET). Starting pitcher Buck Farmer (7-2, 3.47 ERA) will be the lone pitching representative. Shortstop Dixon Machado (.272/.327/.356 in 81 G) and corner infielder Jefry Marte (.271/.337/.497 in 77 G) both will be joining Farmer in Omaha for the Triple-A All-Star Game.
Marte was called up a little over a week ago since it was announced Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera would be sidelined six weeks with a calf strain. He is currently 2-for-7 in four appearances with Detroit, recording his first big league home run vs. the Seattle Mariners last Wednesday. He’s also driven in three runs as a Tiger.
Tigers top prospect Steven Moya is still struggling to get anything going. He recorded three straight multi-hit and three straight home run games from July 4-6 (6-for-13, 4 HR, 8 RBI), but since then, he has gone just 3-for-27. He’s hitting .232 with a disappointing .280 OBP in 75 games played for Toledo this season.
DOUBLE-A: ERIE SEAWOLVES
The Erie SeaWolves have also reached their All-Star break in the Eastern League (AA).
Like the Hens, they too will be sending three members of their team to the annual East vs. West Eastern League All-Star Game (Wednesday, July 15th @ 7:00 PM ET in Portland, ME). Center fielder Wynton Bernard, designated hitter Dean Green and starting pitcher Josh Turley will all get the nod for the All-Star festivities.
Dean Green continues to hit the cover off the ball for Erie this season. His .317/.394/.484 slash numbers, 10 HR, and 42 RBI are among the best in the entire Eastern League. He has a hit in seven of his last ten contests, hitting at a .424 clip.
Wynton Bernard has recently hid the skids again for Erie, but his outstanding play during the months of May and June were more than enough to earn him an All-Star invite. However, he is hitting just .128 (5-for-39) in his last ten games, striking out nine times and not driving in a single run.
Josh Turley continues to headline the rotation for the SeaWolves in 2015, posting a 2.84 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 16 starts for Erie. In his last ten contests, Turley is 7-3 with a 2.69 ERA (19 ER in 63.2 IP) with a K/BB ratio of 38/11. Starter Tommy Collier also continues to pitch well since being promoted from Single-A Advanced in late May. In eight starts for Erie, Collier is 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA.
SINGLE-A ADVANCED: LAKELAND FLYING TIGERS
The Lakeland Flying Tigers recently got the second half of their season underway down in the Florida State League (A-Adv.)
First baseman Dominic Ficociello continues to be Lakeland’s most consistent player and hitter. Hitting .297 in 84 games played for the Flying Tigers, Ficociello is hitting .256 in his last ten games, recording a hit in seven of those ten, including four multi-hit games. Ficociello was one of four Flying Tigers named to the FSL North Division All-Star team back in late June.
Fellow All-Star and Lakeland outfielder Ben Verlander was the other position player to accompany Ficociello to the FSL All-Star contest. He is hitting .268 over his last ten games, but the overall average has slowly declined as the season goes on, which now sits at .222.
Pitchers Kevin Ziomek and Ryan Longstreth were the other two Flying Tigers deemed All-Stars. Both have an ERA floating around 4.00 for the season, with Ziomek having made seven more starts than Longstreth. The most impressive pitcher as of late for Lakeland is Brennan Smith. In his last ten appearances, Smith is 3-1, with a 1.83 ERA (8 ER in 39.1 IP), making both starts and relief appearances.
SINGLE-A: WEST MICHIGAN WHITECAPS
Congratulations to West Michigan Whitecaps Joe Jimenez on not only being selected to the MLB Futures Game in Cincinnati, but also having a solid outing.
Last night, the 20-year old out of Puerto Rico pitched 0.2 innings for the World Team, giving up no base runners and striking out one batter in a USA blowout victory. Jimenez was the only representative for the Tigers for either team, In his last ten games for the Whitecaps, he has recorded saves in six of the ten, giving up just one earned run total during that span, and averaging about a strikeout per inning.
Another of the Tigers top prospects, Whitecaps center fielder Derek Hill, is hitting .273 in his last ten games but is hitting just .238 on the season. He’s driven in eight runs during those last ten games as well. However, like Moya, Hill has struggled to get anything going this season. Pair that with a recent history of injuries for both players and what you have is a decline in stock and value.